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Huge new floating docks coming to Grand Bahama Shipyard in $600m boost

Grand Bahama Shipyard is pictured in this file photo. Drydock No. 2, where a giant crane collapsed in 2019 is in the foreground
In a $600m transformation project that includes two world-class floating docks, Grand Bahama Shipyard is expanding to regain its position as one of the world's largest cruise ship repair facilities.

The two new floating docks will allow GBS to service all cruise ships in operation and under construction, including Icon class and Oasis class, as well as much of the world's commercial fleet.

The docks are under construction at CSSC Qingdao Beihai Shipbuilding Co. Ltd. in China, with expected delivery in 2025 and 2026.

They will be among the largest floating docks in the Western Hemisphere and include a mega dock that will have the largest licing capacity in the world, capable of servicing all existing and currently planned cruise ships worldwide, as well as a broad range of other vessels.

Recovery from 2019 crane collapse

In 2019, the yard's Drydock No. 2 was damaged when a giant crane collapsed, with Oasis of the Seas also sustaining damage, and eight people injured. Consequently, the largest ships have had to go other facilities.

The new investment will see GBS return to form and go beyond that, with greater capacity. 

Supporting marine works and infrastructure

In addition to new floating dry docks, the project includes supporting marine works and infrastructure construction in Grand Bahama, which is set to begin in the last quarter of 2023 and complete in 2025.

GBS, jointly owned by Carnival Corp., Royal Caribbean Group and Grand Bahama Port Authority, got the green light to proceed with an upgrade that is estimated to bring billions of dollars in economic impact to Grand Bahama’s economy over the next 25 years.

Bahamas Prime Minister Philip Davis hailed the expansion project as a 'new and promising chapter in the story of Grand Bahama.'

Deputy Prime Minister/Minister of Tourism, Investments & Aviation Chester Cooper said the expansion's timing 'coincides beautifully with our efforts to revitalize Grand Bahama’s tourism industry. This project is just the impetus that Grand Bahama needs to further boost the island’s economic growth. It is a strong show of confidence that Grand Bahama Shipyard is establishing the world’s largest ship repair facility in the Bahamas.'

Jobs and apprenticeship program

Already the largest private non-tourism employer in the Bahamas, GBS is expected to provide further opportunities for Bahamians, local businesses and contractors, including hundreds of full-time jobs at the shipyard once it is in full operation.

Additionally, GBS is expanding its apprenticeship program, with a goal to have 16 to 20 new apprentices per year. Designed to develop needed technical skills for the shipyard, the program will also expand access to well-paying, long-term career opportunities at the shipyard and other industrial employers. The four-year apprentice program will be further enhanced through partnerships with technical colleges.

Half a century of cruise cooperation

'For half a century, we have worked side by side with the Bahamas and Bahamian businesses and contributed to the growth of the Bahamian economy while delivering unforgettable cruise vacations to millions of people,' Carnival Corp. CEO Josh Weinstein said. 'The success of our enduring partnership is built on our shared convic6on that people must always be at the forefront of our thinking. That mindset is evident in the Grand Bahama Shipyard transformation project, which invests significantly in local businesses, creates jobs and contributes to a legacy of economic vitality in the country.'

'For more than 50 years we have partnered with the Bahamas to deliver exceptional vacations to millions of guests and create opportuni6es for local Bahamian communities,' said Jason Liberty, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean Group. 'We are proud to expand our longstanding partnership and see establishing Grand Bahama as a premier maritime destination for repair and revitalization of all kinds of vessels, as a project that will drive economic growth for the Bahamian industry and create a positive impact for the people of the Bahamas for generations to come.'

Sarah St. George, acting chairman of Grand Bahama Port Authority, added: 'We join our partners in celebrating this historic achievement and congratulate Carnival Corporation and Royal Caribbean Group for their commitment to Grand Bahama and Grand Bahama Shipyard. We also thank the government for their close collaboration on this transformational project. For the past four years, re-establishing Grand Bahama Shipyard as a premier global ship repair facility has been the single-minded focus of all parties.

'We’re tremendously excited for this huge expansion.'